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Approved Research

An epidemiological and genetic analysis of traits associated with musculoskeletal conditions

Principal Investigator: Dr Francis Collins
Approved Research ID: 58855
Approval date: August 19th 2020

Lay summary

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions such as weakness, chronic pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia affect up to one in four people across the UK. MSK conditions are a leading contributor to disability worldwide and are commonly linked to an increased risk of developing other chronic health conditions. Due to a poor understanding of the underlying pathophysiology, current treatments are not very effective, creating a sense of urgency surrounding MSK research.

To better understand the causes of MSK conditions, we will conduct a study focused on MSK-relevant physiological and imaging measures in the UK Biobank. Using machine learning techniques, we intend to derive novel measures that are medically relevant to MSK conditions and conduct an epidemiological and genetic analysis of these MSK measures. We will integrate our results with previous studies in order to improve our understanding of the causes of MSK conditions. We estimate that this study will take up to three years. Collectively, our study has the potential to help improve our understanding of the cause of MSK conditions and contribute to efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat MSK conditions.